USA: Tsekoa II to Become ‘Green Platform’ After Refurbishment

The newest Imtech Marine member Groupe Techsol Marine Inc. has signed a contract to provide engineering for the propulsion plant of a research ship in Canada for the University of Victoria.

The former Canadian Coast Guard vessel, previously known as Tsekoa II, is being refurbished and will be used for coastal oceanography and hydrographic research, and to service the Victoria Experimental Network under the Sea (VENUS) coastal network in Georgia Strait between Vancouver Island and the mainland. The vessel will also serve as a platform for green shipping research and development.

The ship was originally designed by Robert Allan Ltd and built in 1984 by Allied Shipbuilders in Vancouver. The unique design of the VPU (Versatile Power Unit) developed over the past two years by Techsol allows the connection of any type of energy source into the network using the same type of hardware. The system was considered last year by Robert Allan for a green version of the BRAtt (BURCHETT-ROBERT ALLAN training tug) using a fuel cell. The modular approach of the power converters is based on the same successful philosophy that has made Techsol known in the workboat industry over the past years.

Hybrid ready

The VPU combined with other products such as the Techsol MAX System (Monitoring Alarm and Control System) offers the marine industry a perfect, cost-effective way to turn green on a step-by-step approach. As the battery technology is evolving but not yet at a mature stage, Techsol sells ‘Hybrid Ready’ applications, enabling the ship owner to invest, when ready, in the right type of power source/accumulator. Power will be provided by three generator sets along with batteries and a fuel cell on this all-electric propulsion vessel. Load sharing from all electrical sources will be controlled by a state-of- the- art power management system, and a shore power converter will allow multi-voltage connection to shore.

Claude Messiaen, Techsol President said: “There are not two identical systems in the ‘hybrid world’. Each system needs to be designed based on the operation profile of the vessel and owner expectation. However, the technology used to achieve this goal needs to be ruggedized and off the-shelf so it can be maintained for the life expectancy of the vessel. The other factor that is really important is to have a cost effective solution. If you need a subsidy to do it, then the system is not viable. On top of that, we need to remember we do not make energy, we can only convert it. Hybrid technology is only a tool to use it more efficiently.”

Techsol has a new facility of 4,645 m2, and more than 126 skilled employees and is ready to provide the technology needed.

The refit, expected to be completed in 2012, will transform the vessel into the world’s first plugin hybrid ‘green ship’, powered by electricity, hydrogen fuel cells and low-emission diesel fuel. The federal government, through Western Economic Diversification Canada, provided the funding necessary to purchase and install the power and propulsion systems.

Subsea World News Staff , March 06, 2012;  Image: BMT